“I’m getting too old for this,” one father exclaimed as his little one tugged his hand toward the entrance of the maze for another go.
Clad in knee pads and headlamps, a band of young explorers and a few brave adults, made their way through a network of dark tunnels. They passed through a black-light room and finally a triangular overhead bridge before they descended into a belly crawl to come out near where they began.
This is the sixth Family Adventure Maze created by designer and builder Ray Turner, and his first since 2009.
The indoor maze, along with a toddler-size cardboard maze, was constructed in the activities building behind Church on the Rock, 1049 North Richmond Road, Berea.
The free maze is scheduled to be open two more dates, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Parts of the maze ended abruptly, the opening covered entirely with coated chicken wire.
When a few explorers gathered in the end for a photo opportunity with a parent or friend standing on the other side of the wire, Turner would slide a piece of plywood in place to trap them in what he called his “mousetrap.” But he didn’t keep them in there very long, he joked.
Maze volunteer Bailee Johnsen, 11, said constructing the various traps in the maze was her favorite part of the experience.
She knew every twist and turn of the maze, she said.
Bailee and her best friend, Ashley Garrett, 11, who also helped put together the maze, guided young children through the cushiony, bubble-wrap and cardboard-lined tunnels.
“We are kind of like guides, for when people get lost,” Ashley said.
Chance Lovins, 10, Gabrielle Wagers, 9, and her brother Hunter, 11, were racing to see who could make it through the maze fastest. Gabrielle made it through in 57 seconds, but her challengers continued to try to shave seconds off their time.
A group of 3-year-olds giggled and screeched when they rounded corners and surprised each other in the totally-cardboard toddler maze. The top of the maze was left open so children could see and be seen at all times. Parents stood along the outskirts of the maze camera-ready.
“Brother Ray,” as everyone called him, stayed busy as he kept explorers supplied with knee pads and headlamps, checked on youngsters as they braved the dark maze or took a moment to catch some “mice.”
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.